Condo Blues: easy




Showing posts with label easy. Show all posts
Showing posts with label easy. Show all posts

Wednesday, May 26, 2021

How to Permanently Kill Weeds in a Sidewalk or Driveway the Easy Way!

I have an annoying group of weeds that grow in the space between my garage door and driveway. I don’t want to use commercial weed killer because I don’t want use that kind of stuff around my dog and we also have a bunch of neighborhood kids that use our driveways as turnarounds spots for their bikes, scooters, and such. I try to garden as organically as I can.

 

Also, commercial weed killer containers are so big I doubt I’d use it all.


I tried all of the normal natural weed killers that people with green thumbs swear work:

 

  • I pulling the weeds by digging out the roots and removing the plant – the weeds came back.

 

  • I tried to kill the weeds by pouring hot water from my electric kettle on the weeds over a series of days – the weeds came back.

 

  • I tried to kill the weeds by dousing them with vinegar – the weeds came back.

 

DIY organic weed killer

I’m pretty sure that the weeds just laughed at me by this point. Ha! Ha! Ha! We are mighty! We are indestructible! WE ARE WEEDS!!!!!

Tuesday, May 11, 2021

Easy DIY Wood Crate Storage and Drawer Organizers

In our early just bought a new house and need new stuff to store our old stuff days I turned some vintage fruit crates I discovered neglected in the basement of our old rental into a down and dirty wood crate storage dresser by slapping the drawers from an old  cardboard night stand into the crates and calling it a day. The storage boxes aren’t very pretty but it worked at the time. I had every intension of upgrading to a better solution later.

 You can probably guess that Later never came.

This version of my fruit crate storage dresser is not working for me any more. The supplies inside quickly turn into a jumble that I have to paw through to find the thing I need. The final straw was finding feathers turning up here, there, and everywhere in the drawers and room except in the drawer that is supposed to store them with my hat making supplies. Gah! I need an organization makeover – stat!


 vintage wood crate dresser

I used a hodge podge of baby food jars and such to store beads and jewelry findings that barfed out their drawers. This isn't pretty, but it is honest. An honest hot mess!

Monday, March 22, 2021

DIY Compost Station

When someone asks why we started composting, my husband and I say it’s because we had to because all we had for garden was clay and zero topsoil. We sang the condo blues over how very little would grow in that pretending to be soil, researched how to amend it, and experimented with composting in a DIY compost bin.

I made our first compost bin by drilling a bazillion holes in a black plastic trash can. We loaded it up with food scraps and paper from our paper shredder and in about a year we had compost! We added the homemade compost to our soil and after awhile our tan clay soil started to turn black with nutrients. I practically dance the first time I dug a hole and found an earthworm – it is another indicator that the soil is improving!

 

We take our composting very seriously. Why do you ask?

 

And we’ve been composting ever since.

Tuesday, March 16, 2021

DIY Non Toxic Resin Look Coasters

Six years ago I made a set of aluminum can coasters that looked like this:

 

 

After years of abuse with a constant stream of hot coffee cups and cold beverages all day every day the coasters on our desks now look like this:

 

DIY coaster makeover before

Choosing a difference adhesive may have helped as well as adding a  protective coating to the top. Cutting down on coffee and ice water is not going to happen  - ever.

 

Sunday, March 7, 2021

How to Make an Easy Indoor Fairy Door

Columbus has many visit this type of business, stamp a passport, and collect a prize trails. We have a local coffee trail, craft brewery trail, a local small business trail, and a delicious donut trail among others. I recently learned about a cool one in Dublin, Ohio – The Fairy Door Trail. Dublin goes completely nuts for all things Irish,  Celtic, and St. Patrick’s Day. So it makes sense that they start a new trail by putting new fairy doors in their local small businesses in March for St Patrick’s Day just in case a leprechaun would like to use it. Which is mighty thoughtful.

I fell into an Internet fairy door rabbit hole after that and wanted to add another fairy door to my house just in case a fairy, gnome, leprechaun, or hopefully - a Borrower - would use it. I loved the Borrower books and movies as a kid and I often think a Borrow probably borrowed that thing I can’t find (which is way more fun than acknowledging I misplaced it.) If you don’t know what I’m talking about  you can read The Complete Adventures of the Borrowers series here. (Disclosure: I am including affiliate links for your convenience)

 

It’s National Craft Month so why not make an indoor fairy door (or the mythical sprite of your choice) to celebrate?

 

Let’s make stuff!

How to Make an Indoor Fairy, Leprechaun, Gnome, Elf, or Borrowers Door


how to make an indoor fairy door

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Sunday, February 21, 2021

How to Build an Outdoor Dog Ramp

Our dog Lacey lives life at 90 miles an hour. She runs. She jumps. She barks. She barks some more.

So. Much. Barking.

When Lacey practically flipped a switch from her normal bouncing off of satellites self to barely and cautiously walking it meant a quick trip to the vet for x rays.

Lacey has two slipped discs in her back which is common for dachshunds. We left the vet with meds for the pain and inflammation, bed rest for two weeks (good luck with that!) and to eliminate jumping situations as much as possible so her back doesn’t get any worse.

I bought these light weight dog stairs with a washable cover for the living room furniture Lacey is allowed to sit on. (Disclosure: I am including affiliate links for your convenience.) They aren’t the prettiest but they were cheap enough to buy a few more to add to what we have so that every chair/sofa in the living room has stairs leading up to it. We think jumping up on a chair that didn't have dog steps is how she hurt herself. 

Sitting next to my people is my favorite place to be!

I also scored this exact folding dog ramp on Marketplace for a song because OMG folding dog ramps for cars are spendy! Hopefully we can get Lacey to use the ramp to get in and out of  the car. No matter how many times we tell her to wait until we pick her up Lacey will catapult herself into the back seat of the car because waiting is for sissies – apparently.

 

How to Make a Down and Dirty Small Dog Ramp

Tuesday, February 16, 2021

Quick and Easy St Patrick's Day Shamrock Decor

ne of my favorite things about St Patrick’s Day is it is the one day of the year that even mainstream places will play Irish music. Listening to a good jig or reel always puts in a good mood no matter what.

The only thing I like better than listening to Scottish and Irish music is dancing to it. I performed as a Scottish Country Dancer and even had Scottish Country Dances at my wedding reception.

Scottish Country Dance is social dancing somewhat like American Square Dancing. Competitive Irish and Scottish dance is a completely different thing.

So why not decorate our door for Saint Patrick’s Day with a quick and easy shamrock featuring The Swallowtail Jig? It is one of my favorite jigs because of the lyrical flute part that I’m still trying to nail down because I'm out of practise.


DIY st patricks day shamrock decoration

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Quick and Easy DIY St Patrick's Day Shamrock

Monday, November 30, 2020

DIY No Sew Thread Cone Gnomes

I buy sewing machine thread in the colors I use most often in bulk by the serger cone. I  use stand alone bobbin winder like this one to wind the cone thread onto an empty regular size thread spool to use on my sewing machine. (Disclosure: I am including affiliate links for your convenience.) This is supposed to keep me from running out of thread but when my historical costuming projects usually take up to 10 yards of fabric I still go through a ton of sewing thread.

Which means I have a nice little stack of empty thread cones on my To Upcycle shelf waiting for a craft project that never comes.

Until today!

I recycled empty thread cones into cute little gnomes. If you don’t have empty thread or serger cones cluttering up your house  waiting to be upcycled you can use paper craft cones like these

how to make recycled thread cone gnomes
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You will need for each gnome you want to make:

Sunday, June 7, 2020

How to Strip Paint the Non Toxic Way

I have a love – hate relationship with spray paint. I love that spray paint will cover almost every surface (if you use the right formula) and easily paint hard to paint areas like indentations and intricate moulding. I hate that many of my spray paint projects en up with paint bubbles and drips.

how to strip paint from wood
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The best way to avoid spray paint bubbles and dripping paint is to hold the can further away from object you are painting and use several light and even coats of spray paint rather than blasting a thick coat of spray paint from close up. Using a spray paint handle (you can find several types of spray paint trigger handles here) will help you paint with even coats of paint and not kill your fingers from pressing the can’s spray nozzle. 

Spray paint bubbles are also caused by painting a second coat of paint on an object when the first coat is not completely dry. I know this because 9 times out of 10 I get spray paint bubbles because I thought my last coat of paint was dry after 24 hours and it was not. The joys of living in a humid area!

 

2 Ways to Repair Spray Paint Bubbles and Drips

 

Friday, February 7, 2020

How to Make a Teapot Cozy

Sometimes when I want to drink more than one cup of tea on a leisurely afternoon, I’ll make it in a teapot. Unfortunately, leisurely drinking the tea in my cup usually means the  tea in the pot turns cold by the time I’m ready for a refill.

Which pretty much negates the reason for making a small pot of tea.

The solution is to put an insulated tea pot warmer on my hot little pot to keep the tea inside it nice and warm as I slowly sip the day away...

Oh, who I am I kidding? I’m usually sewing and forget I made the pot of tea that is sitting on a table across from my sewing machine until hours later.

Either way, a tea cozy is a super simple sewing project to make and is a fantastic fabric stash bust project. I added machine embroidery from a file that came with my machine to get a little more practice in on hooping the embroidery fabric – easily the most tedious, difficult to get right, and important step in machine embroidery.

Let’ s make something!

How to Sew a Simple Tea Cozy



how to make a quick and easy teapot cozy
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Monday, April 1, 2019

How to Make a Quick and Easy Laundry Room Counter Top for Under $30

My laundry room is an unorganized mess!

Being a short person, I know that if I add cupboards above my washer and dryer I won’t use them to organize because I won’t be able to reach them without pulling out a step stool. Long story short: any organizer hanging over my head is dead to me.

Also I don’t want to take down all of the crazy toys decorating my utility room because they sum up the way I feel about doing laundry in the first place – a comedy horror show.

Doing laundry does not spark much joy but having clean clothes does!

A laundry room counter top and folding station would solve my organization problem nicely – and it is a quick and easy project to make!

How to Organize a Laundry Room with a Counter Top


Sunday, February 10, 2019

How to Research, Buy and Install the Best Personal Home Weather Station for You!

Ohio weather changes so wildly and so often you can’t help but be some sort of weather nerd if you have to spend any time outside during the year. It also doesn’t help if like me, weather changes affect your have seasonal allergies. That really makes you pay attention to the local forecast. Good times!

At my allergist’s suggestion I have a humidity monitor (this is the exact indoor thermometer and humidity monitor I have. I am including affiliate links in this post for your convenience.) on each level of the house. It is accurate and an easy double check if I need to change the indoor climate controls but all of that goes out the door the second I step outside.

Sure, I ask Alexa the temperature but she’s only going to give me the outdoor air temperature reading from the local airport (all official weather equipment is installed at local airports) and not factor in things like the wind chill factor or the heat index which, as you know, is why you get local TV weather forecasts of: The temperature is X but it feels like Y.

If you don’t live in close proximity to your airport summer (and other factors beyond your control) your home’s outdoor temperature may vary from the “official” local reading. That difference can be a super huge big deal when my husband takes off on a long run or I will be marching in a parade during the summer.


how to install an easy personal home weather station
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Which is why I bought my husband a personal home weather station for Christmas. (Actually he asked for one.) I gotta tell ya, it was nerve wracking trying to research the best weather station for us because home weather station vary wildly from a cheap standard outdoor thermometer to hundreds of dollars for something that measures rain, wind, humidity, temperature, and the airspeed velocity of an unladen swallow.

Sunday, June 10, 2018

How to Extend a Downspout the Easy Way

Your local building code my differ but most recommend the water running through the downspouts of your house discharge the water at least six feet away from the house’s foundation. Otherwise, the water can splash back and erode the soil around the downspout where rain water can get in to damage the foundation of your home.

Putting a splash block under each downspout is the easiest way to divert rainwater away from the foundation of your house and fix the problem.  That’s what the builder of my neighborhood did to our houses.

The results are hit and miss because the builder used a one measurement fits all approach and some of our downspouts are too high due to hills in the neighborhood and some of us have soil eroding under their splash blocks like my neighbor’s house shown below.

How to prevent soil erosion and lengthen downspouts the easy way
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Two Easy Ways to Extend an Existing House Downspout

Sunday, May 13, 2018

The Everything Guide to Sewing Jersey Knit Sleep Shorts

I need a new pair of summer pajamas for a marching band trip. A cute pair of sleep shorts fits the bill since I will be sharing my hotel room with roommates. An easy thing to buy, right?

Well not if I want a pair of pajama shorts that are long enough to cover my but, otherwise I risk a sleep wedgie. Have you ever been woken up by a sleep short creeper? Trust me, you don't want to if you can help it.

tips for sewing jersey knit fabric

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DIY Music Summer Pajama Shorts

Sunday, May 6, 2018

25 DIY Home Improvements You Can Do in 15 Minutes or Less

When you think of doing home improvement projects to add value to your home, most people immediately think of the big, long, and difficult DIY projects like remodeling a room or landscaping.

While I agree that kitchen and bathrooms sell houses and are super nice to have, it is often at the expense of those little quick and easy home improvement projects that pile up around the house and if done early, can save you the time and expensive needing to do a big, huge DIY project later on down the road.

Grab your tool belts and Do It Yourself Honey! lists. Be prepared to save a ton of money knocking out these quick and easy DIY projects when and where you can.

25 Quick and Easy DIY Home Improvement Projects that Pay Off Big!


Sunday, April 1, 2018

Recycled Crafts: How to Make Bottle Cap Ladybug Party Favors

At my home renaissance festival, children bring little trinkets like shiny stones, marbles, and the like to trade with the performers. 

Last season I made do with vase filler stones. This season, I’d rather not add something so heavy to the already heavy basket I carry during the show.  I need around 300 party favors, I want something somewhat period, and if I could use this as a stash bust project, my craft room would be ever so grateful.

Sunday, March 18, 2018

The Easiest DIY Laundry Stain Remover You Will Ever Make!

After my allergy test revealed a lovely grid of red dots indicating I’m allergic to even more annoying things than I realized, I got a ton of information from the doctor about things I can change around the house to help me deal with the unpleasantness.

That’s how I ended up with a giant jug of unscented high efficiency laundry detergent that makes my front loading washing machine stink.

Reek, actually.

I can’t return it. I don’t want to use it as laundry detergent but I CAN use it to make a quick, cheap, and effective laundry stain remover spray. Which is fortunate because I’ve been crying in my oatmeal ever since they discontinued the plant based version of my all time favorite stain fighting spot remover Shout.

How to Make Two Ingredient Laundry Stain Remover Spray


best DIY 2 ingredient laundry stain remover spray
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Monday, January 22, 2018

How to Make a Disinfecting All Purpose Cleaner without Vinegar

I like to keep the recipes to my homemade cleaners as simple as possible so they are easy to make on the fly. That’s why I clean my kitchen counter tops with one part vinegar to three parts water. Because in the world of being me, if I run out of counter cleaner, it is always when I am in the middle of cleaning something. Always!

Some of you tell me you don’t want to use A homemade cleaners made with vinegar. This is particularly true if you have granite or stone counter tops. The acid in the vinegar will damage or eat away at the finish.

I hear you. I have granite in my half bathroom.


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How to Make Homemade Granite, Natural Stone, and Countertop Cleaner


Tuesday, September 19, 2017

How to Repair a Dishwasher that Won’t Drain

 My dishwasher did not drain after washing a load of dishes. I like my dishwasher and it is barely four years old.  I really hoped I could fix my broken dishwasher because I do NOT want to go through The Great Dishwasher Research Hunt again.

Basically there are a series of filters and pumps in a dishwasher that can become clogged through normal use, not rinsing dishes, or in my case my bad habit of not removing paper labels from jars before I stick them in the dishwasher clogged the drain pipe. This little exercise cured me of that habit.

Unclogging a dishwasher drain pipe is much easier than the dozens of YouTube videos I consulted make it out to be. The most difficult part of the process is dealing with the vile stench of the clog because I’m a baby about bad smells. 


How to Unclog a Dishwasher


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Monday, September 11, 2017

20 New Ways to Use and Repurpose Old Towels

I swear the amount of towels in my linen closet magically doubles or triples on its own. I bet it is some relic from a science fiction universe (or that I live in a small house with a small linen closet but I’m still blaming aliens because it is more fun.)

If I don’t clean it out my linen regularly the towel population grows to the point it is so large I can’t close the closet door. Which given the size of the linen closet, it doesn’t take a huge towel population to achieve this.

But it also means that I regularly have old towels with a worn spot or edge but overall fairly usable and as such, something I don’t want to send to landfill hell if I can get another reuse out of it.

Luckily, old and worn towels are one of the easiest things to reuse and upcycle to save a little money, the environment, or better yet – time.

Pin these creative reuse ideas for later!

20 Genius Ideas to Reuse Old Towels You Have to Try!